Mon, Mar 17, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan takes to streets in huge rallies

LOUD AND CLEAR Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at campaign events, with the DPP candidate speaking in Taipei and the KMT's candidate in Tainan

By Ko Shu-ling and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS , IN TAIPEI AND TAINAN

At the rally with her husband and two pet dogs, Wang Yueh-chao (王月昭), 54, said that she was worried that Taiwan would eventually face unification with China if Ma won and that an influx of Chinese workers would destroy the economy.

After giving high-fives to supporters at the memorial hall, Hsieh continued in a bullet-proof vehicle to Banciao, where joined his running mate.

Su and Hsieh led the crowd as they bowed in unison in the direction of Yushan in a show of respect for the land and its people.

Early yesterday morning, Hsieh was in Taimali Township (太麻里), Taitung County, to welcome the sunrise over Taiwan.

Hsieh promised, if elected, to improve the political culture and economy and to deal with societal problems.

Hsieh said that he would see a "new economy" that involves more than the blind pursuit of economic growth.

He said he would seek continued economic growth in combination with prosperity for all social classes, fair allocation of resources and sustainable development.

He said he would work for "new politics" without infighting and create a situation in which political parties cooperate with each other.

The DPP finished off its campaign activities yesterday with a rally in Taichung last night.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of KMT supporters took to the streets yesterday at rallies across the country to voice their support for Ma and his running mate Vicent Siew (蕭萬長).

Chanting "On March 22, vote for No. 2!" and flashing the "V" for victory sign, the supporters took to the streets in all 25 cities and counties simultaneously at 3:22pm.

Ma led more than 20,000 supporters at a rally in Tainan County, the home of Chen and a traditional pan-green bastion, pledging to be an "active" president if elected on Saturday.

"For the past eight years, Taiwan has either been stuck at the same place or gone backward. Taiwanese people need an active president," Ma told the crowd. "We can't afford to continue going backward. We need to stride forward."

At 3:19pm, Ma led the crowd in reversing their hats and putting their hands on their stomachs to show their digust with the DPP administration and corruption scandals, and the state of the economy.

Supporters joined Ma in chanting "Taiwan progresses, Taiwan wins," and began a one-hour march around veterans' communities in Yongkang (永康), Tainan County.

Waving campaign flags for Ma, local resident Chu Shao-cheng (朱紹誠) said he supported the KMT because he believed Ma could improve the economy.

College student Fang Kuo-chang (方國昌) and his brother welcomed Ma and the crowd as they passed on the street and berated the DPP administration.

"It's hard for college graduates to find jobs now. We think it's time for a change and we believe that Ma will make our lives better," Fang said.

Ma was joined later by KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) in Taipei via a live video feed. At 5:20pm, supporters pushed a giant ball onto the stage with a picture of Ma running, symbolizing their hope that Ma would win the election and enter the Presidential Office on May 20, inauguration day.

Wu and Lien yesterday led the rally in Taipei City, which began in front of the Songshan Tobacco Factory and ended at Ketagalan Boulevard, while KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) led a rally in Taichung and Siew solicited support in Kaohsiung.

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